Social Anxiety and Video Conferencing

It might seem like this is the hour that people living with social anxiety would shine, but the truth is that everybody needs somebody sometimes. Even if you’re socially anxious, you probably need a little human interaction now and again. Living in social isolation can be pretty trying, which is why a lot of folks are trying video conferencing for the first time ever. Even with social anxiety, you can get in on this happening trend, too.

Some Points to Consider

We know social anxiety is caused by all sorts of reasons, so not all of these points may be useful to you, but hopefully, they’ll help someone be able to spend more time with the people in their lives that they really, truly miss. Video calls can be intimidating the first time, especially if you’re telephone adverse, but they’re totally doable if you take it a little bit at a time.

  1. Remember that most people are looking at their cameras, not at you. You might feel kind of awkward when someone stares right at you during a video call. Try to remember that they’re actually looking at their phone or computer’s camera, not at the screen where you’re located. That stare can feel judgmental, but it’s really just someone else trying to learn how to use a new technology.
  2. Start small and with people you know well. Pretty much every smartphone is capable of video calls these days, though we may not have been using them for that until social isolation was mandated. If you’ve not tried a video call before, start with someone you really trust, maybe someone you see regularly in person, so you can get the hang of it. Even a five-minute call can help ease you into the idea of a social situation using video conferencing.
  3. Look at the camera when you feel stressed. If you’re feeling really insecure, try to look at the camera. It gives the person on the other side of the phone the feeling that you’re looking at them directly, and it can help reduce distractions or stress caused by facial expressions that may be hard to interpret. The camera’s unblinking stare can be a blessing in disguise.

What About Video Conferences for Work?

Oh, boy. You will almost certainly be asked to attend some number of video meetings for your job or your child’s school, especially if you’re a worker that’s been sent home to work there. You thought you were getting off easy when they did that, didn’t you? Sorry. It’s video meetings with the boss on the regular now, which may be a lot more intimidating.

Before you have a video meeting, check your equipment and adjust the camera angle so you’re comfortable with how everything looks. People will want to see you, so you can’t just put a bit of tape over the camera. That would certainly be the easy way out, but here we are. Get really familiar with the software by trying it with friends or relatives before you have to log into a meeting, that’ll eliminate some trepidation. For the rest, just take it breath by breath. This is a brave new world for everyone.

What tips do you have for surviving (or even enjoying) video calls? Share them here in the comments!

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